SOUTHINGTON — The father-son owners of Flair Restaurant & Bar are working to reopen Fratelli’s Italian Restaurant on the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike after buying it from the Carabetta brothers.
David and Bruno Carabetta decided to sell after starting the restaurant in 1989. Hector and Jose Delgado run Flair Restaurant as well as Mix Fine Cakes & Pastries, both in downtown Southington.
The Carabettas closed the restaurant about a month ago. David Carabetta said he’s already missing his customers but was glad the restaurant was going to good people.
“We don’t have any regrets about turning it over. We did it for 35 years, it’s time for us to move on,” he said Friday. “It’ll be a good turnover.”New signs andremodeling
Hector Delgado owns Flair and Mix with his son Jose Delgado. The duo knew the Carabetta brothers as fellow restaurateurs and began discussions about buying Fratelli’s when they heard the brothers were looking to leave the restaurant business.
The Delgados said Fratelli’s has a strong customer base as well as a great location.
On Friday, Hector Delgado said they’re working on remodeling the interior of the restaurant and getting new signs. He said the restaurant will remain named Fratelli’s.
He’s also revamping the menu although keeping some of Dave and Bruno Carabetta’s top dishes as well as the Italian theme of the cuisine.
“All fresh pastas, home-made pastas,” Hector Delgado said. “We’re going to do a lot of great things.”
The menu will include fresh seafood, chicken, veal, gnocchi and more.
“The same as Flair, everything completely fresh,” Jose Delgado said.
While the name and the phone number will remain the same, Jose Delgado said he’ll expand the hours to keep the restaurant open starting at 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday. It will also have a remodeled dining room, revamped cocktail and wine list as well as an updated menu.
He hopes to reopen Fratelli’s in early August.Fratelli’s Restaurant
The Carabettas bought the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike property in 1986 and spent the next few years building the restaurant, which they opened two and a half years later. Even though retired, their mother Elena Carabetta was often at the restaurant helping make food, bringing her boys lunch or just spending time with them.
“She would make lasagna, eggplant parmesean, peel shrimp, whatever she had to do,” David Carabetta said. “She never wanted to get paid, she just wanted to see her sons.”
“It was a family thing, Fratelli’s. Fratelli’s translates to brothers in Italian,” he said.
Getting older, David Carabetta said he and his brother realized it was time to make a change.
“I’m in my 60s, my brother’s in his 70s. The restaurateur business consumes your life. But we have no regrets about what we did. We loved working together, we loved the community, the community was great to us,” he said. “It was generations of families. Grandparents, parents, now the grandchildren are coming to eat there. It was a beautiful thing.”